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HeadlinesDecember 01, 2020

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NY Governor Warns of “Nightmare of Overwhelmed Hospitals” as U.S. Topples Coronavirus Records

Dec 01, 2020

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is convening a panel of advisers today to determine who will be the first in line to be vaccinated against COVID-19 — as the U.S. coronavirus outbreak continues to shatter world records. On Monday, U.S. hospitalizations topped 96,000 — a record high. There were 168,000 new confirmed cases and nearly 1,300 new deaths Monday. There were over 4 million confirmed U.S. infections in November alone.

Here in New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo warned of a looming “nightmare of overwhelmed hospitals,” saying he’s prepared to once again close nonessential businesses if cases keep rising. Cuomo also ordered hospitals to call up retired medical workers.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo: “Every hospital has to identify retired nurses and doctors now. We’re already experiencing staff shortages. Staff just gets exhausted after a while. They’ve had a horrendous year.”

In California, a new remain-at-home order went into effect across Los Angeles County on Monday, as Governor Gavin Newsom warned similar orders could soon follow for nearly all of California’s 58 counties.

Gov. Gavin Newsom: “If these trends continue, we’re going to have to take much more dramatic, arguably drastic, action.”

Trump Coronavirus Adviser Dr. Scott Atlas, Who Fought Public Health Measures, Resigns

Dec 01, 2020

On Monday, President Trump’s handpicked coronavirus adviser, Dr. Scott Atlas, resigned. Atlas is a former Fox News contributor and neuroradiologist from Stanford’s conservative Hoover Institution with no expertise in epidemiology or infectious disease. Atlas drew condemnation from Stanford’s Faculty Senate. Stanford doctors wrote in a Los Angeles Times op-ed, “The guidance he is giving to the White House does not reflect sound epidemiological reasoning, nor is it consistent with the current body of scientific knowledge about COVID-19.” President Trump’s personal lawyer responded to the doctors’ letter by threatening to sue them for defamation.

Dr. Atlas has dismissed overwhelming scientific evidence that face masks slow the spread of coronavirus. He’s also pushed a widely discredited strategy of “herd immunity through natural infection” — a policy that public health officials say could result in the deaths of millions more Americans.

Last month, Dr. Atlas called on Michiganders to “rise up” against public health measures aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19 — drawing condemnation from Michigan’s Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer, who was targeted in an alleged terrorist plot by far-right militia members to overthrow the Michigan government and kidnap her. 

Millions of U.S. Workers Shortchanged on Unemployment Benefits During Pandemic

Dec 01, 2020

The Government Accountability Office reports millions of U.S. workers left unemployed by the pandemic have been denied the full jobless benefits they’re owed, with a majority of states paying out the minimum benefit instead of a higher amount based on workers’ prior earnings. The GAO also found weekly Labor Department unemployment figures — which reached historic highs in 2020 — have significantly undercounted the number of people put out of work.

Study Finds Evictions in 2020 Led to 10,700 Additional Pandemic Deaths

Dec 01, 2020

New research finds more than 400,000 COVID-19 cases and nearly 11,000 deaths resulted from evictions, after many states allowed eviction moratoriums to expire over the summer. Emergency room physician Dr. Jason Wilson tweeted in response, “Stable housing is even more important than wearing a mask. Getting out of this pandemic means following all the CDC guidelines — including the one about not evicting people during a global pandemic.”

Trump Campaign Lawyer Calls for Murder of Cybersecurity Official Fired by Trump

Dec 01, 2020

Wisconsin and Arizona have formally certified Joe Biden’s win over Donald Trump, dealing the latest blow to Trump’s quest to overturn the results of the 2020 election. On Monday, Trump campaign lawyer Joseph diGenova said former U.S. cybersecurity chief Chris Krebs — who was fired by Trump after he called the 2020 election the most secure election in American history — should be put to death. DiGenova was speaking on the Howie Carr talk radio show.

Joe diGenova: “That guy is a class A moron. He should be drawn and quartered, taken out at dawn and shot.” 

Trump Lashes Out at Republican Governors Who Refused to Overturn Election Results

Dec 01, 2020

President Trump continues to lash out at top Republicans who refused to back his claims of election fraud. On Monday, Trump demanded Georgia Republican Governor Brian Kemp “overrule” Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s certification of Biden’s win, calling Kemp “hapless.” Trump also attacked Arizona’s Republican Governor Doug Ducey Monday, saying he had “betrayed the people of Arizona” by certifying Joe Biden’s win.

This comes as Arizona Democratic Senator-elect Mark Kelly, who defeated Republican incumbent Martha McSally, is set to be sworn in on Wednesday. His victory means the Senate’s balance of power will be decided in Georgia’s twin runoff elections scheduled for January 5, when Republican incumbents Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue will face challengers Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff. Some Georgia Republicans have raised fears that Trump’s attacks could suppress Republican voter turnout, leading to a Democratic-controlled Senate. 

Ransomware Attack Shutters Baltimore County Schools 

Dec 01, 2020

Schools in Baltimore County, Maryland, are closed for a second day after a ransomware attack shut down much of the school district’s computer network. Authorities have revealed few details on what was compromised or if the attacker made any demands. This comes as The New York Times reveals hospitals and other medical institutions are coming under an increasing wave of cyberattacks. A recent attack on the University of Vermont Health Network took down the electronic medical record system for nearly a month, disrupting care for chemotherapy patients and others.

Federal Court Orders ICE to End Indefinite Detention of Asylum Seekers in New York

Dec 01, 2020

A federal court in New York has ordered Immigration and Customs Enforcement to bring immigrants in front of a judge within 10 days of being apprehended. New York immigration rights activists celebrated Monday’s ruling, saying it will protect immigrants’ due process rights, as ICE can no longer subject them to indefinite detention before hearings related to their case. The ruling only affects New York.

Guatemalan Protesters Demand Resignation of President Alejandro Giammattei

Dec 01, 2020

In Guatemala, Indigenous leaders and thousands of protesters took to the streets of the western region of Sololá Monday as anti-government actions continued across the country for the second week. Protesters blocked a major highway and surrounding roads for hours. This comes as indignation continues to mount over the government’s response to the pandemic and two back-to-back hurricanes, Eta and Iota, which displaced hundreds of thousands of people last month. Many protesters are calling for President Alejandro Giammattei to resign.

Protester: “He’s causing great harm to society, and that’s why we demand the resignation of Alejandro Giammattei. Get out, Giammattei!”

Thousands of people also led a protest in Guatemala City Saturday, with vows to continue mobilizations until President Giammattei and other government officials step down.

Meanwhile, Amnesty International is condemning the excessive use of force by Guatemalan police against protesters and journalists at a massive action last month triggered by a now-retracted budget passed by Congress which proposed cuts to health and education. 

Major U.S. Corporations Oppose Bill Banning Goods Produced by Forced Labor in China

Dec 01, 2020

In news from Capitol Hill, a number of major corporations, including Apple, Nike and Coca-Cola, are opposing a bill to ban goods made using forced labor by Uyghurs and other Muslim minority groups in China’s Xinjiang region. The House passed the legislation 406 to 3, but the Senate has not yet voted. A congressional report earlier this year found many corporations have directly or indirectly relied on forced labor in Xinjiang, including Adidas, Calvin Klein, Campbell Soup, Costco, H&M, Tommy Hilfiger, Nike and Patagonia.

French MPs to Rewrite Law Banning Publication of Images of Police

Dec 01, 2020

French politicians have announced they will totally rewrite a controversial new security bill after weeks of nationwide protests. The proposed law would have banned the publication of images of police officers and increased police powers. On Monday, four French police officers were charged with assaulting Black music producer Michel Zecler while hurling racial epithets at him. Video of the incident went viral at a time when many in France feared the proposed security law would be used to cover up future cases of police brutality. 

Brazilian Amazon Deforestation Hits 12-Year High Under President Bolsonaro

Dec 01, 2020

In environmental news, the Brazilian government has confirmed over 2.7 million acres of the Amazon rainforest were destroyed over the past year — the largest amount in 12 years. Deforestation has surged under the right-wing presidency of Jair Bolsonaro. Scientists say preserving the Amazon is crucial in addressing the climate crisis.

Minnesota Gives Final Approval to Enbridge Line 3 Pipeline

Dec 01, 2020

Construction is set to begin on the new Enbridge Line 3 pipeline after the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency approved the final needed permit on Monday. The controversial proposed pipeline would carry tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada, to a terminal in Wisconsin, cutting through Indigenous territory in Minnesota and running under more than 200 streams. Indigenous groups have been fighting the project for years. 

Goldman Environmental Prize Holds Virtual Ceremony for 2020 Winners

Dec 01, 2020

The winners of the 2020 prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize have been announced. Among this year’s winners are Kristal Ambrose from the Bahamas, who pressured the government to ban single-use plastic bags, cutlery and straws, and Styrofoam containers and cups; Chibeze Ezekiel from Ghana, the national coordinator of 350 Ghana Reducing Our Carbon, who also works with Ghana’s youth climate activists; Nemonte Nenquimo, an Indigenous leader in the Ecuadorian Amazon who led legal action against oil extraction in the region; and Leydy Pech, an Indigenous Maya woman from Hopelchén, Mexico, who promotes sustainable development practices for Mayan communities.

Pech is also a beekeeper, protecting a rare native bee species. This is Pech speaking at this year’s Goldman virtual ceremony.

Leydy Pech: “The prize gives me the opportunity to tell the world that the lands of the Indigenous peoples are being stripped away by the imposition of mega extraction projects, agro industry, tourism and others, that strengthen a model of capitalism that threatens natural resources and our way of life.” 

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